Columbia U. researchers seek "Music Lab" survey participants

BB reader Matthew Salganik of Columbia University says:
My colleagues and I in the Sociology department at Columbia University are doing an experiment about pop music which might be interesting to your readers. If they participate they will have a chance to discover and download new music for free.

After listening to the music of Britney Spears, we became interested in why some musicians become superstars while other seemingly similar musicians don't. To understand this process better, we decided to find out how people form their musical tastes. We have created a website where people can listen to, rate, and download songs by cool, up-and-coming artists. All the downloads are free and legal so the site is a great place to find new music, help support emerging artists, and help out science -- all at the same time.

Once the research is completed we hope to be able to shed light not just on the popularity of music, but also on the popularity of other cultural objects like books, movies, and works of art.